Check out these effective tips to protect kids from air pollution in Delhi NCR and other big cities. Understand what is air pollution, what is PM2.5 and AQI, how air pollutions affects us to cause health problems and what we can do to protect kids from air pollution.
Do you know we humans can still survive without food for few days but without air it is impossible to survive even for few minutes? Air is the most essential thing we need for any organism to survive on earth.
But nowadays the air we breath has become so polluted that it is becoming essential to take steps to protect ourselves and at the same time take small steps and make change in our lifestyles to bring down the pollution level.
We have all heard of Delhi air pollution increasing year by year. As per few reports Delhi is the most polluted city in the world with the close competitor being Beijing.
For me personally, air pollution in Delhi is visible. I can see a thick haze in Delhi, Gurgaon and NCR specially at the onset of winters. Its like a back cloud that does not lift and you can specially see the difference when you are landing in Delhi after visiting any other place
And during this time, all of our kids fall sick, there is this persistent cough that refuses to leave. Most of the us residents suffer from viral infections and at times we can feel a burning sensation at the back of our throats which is a result of toxic air we are breathing.
Honestly do we need more reports apart from what we are experiencing to site up, take notice and make amends to protect kids from air pollution?
In this article I have tried to answer few basic question on air pollution, what is PM2.5, what is smog and then talk about ways we can protect ourselves and kids from air pollution in Delhi NCR region and other big cities.
What is air pollution?
From wiki – Air pollution occurs when harmful or excessive quantities of substances including gases, Particulates, and Biological molecules are introduced in Earth’s atmosphere
The main pollutants that are introduced as part of human activity includes carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, CFCs and particulates
What causes air pollution in Delhi or other big cities?
There are multiple reasons for air pollution. I am only going to cover the main ones that are caused by human activities
- Combustion of fuels
- Industrial wastes and processes and Power plants
- Burning of grasslands or fields or crops
- Burning of waste
- Burning of fuels in vehicles like car, truck, bus, auto etc.
- Gases released from AC and refrigerators
- Construction activities
- Over population
- Not enough green spaces
What is PM2.5 (Fine Particles)
The term fine particles, or particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and one half microns or less in width. Like inches, meters and miles, a micron is a unit of measurement for distance. There are about 25,000 microns in an inch. The widths of the larger particles in the PM2.5 size range would be about thirty times smaller than that of a human hair. The smaller particles are so small that several thousand of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.
Similarly, PM10 are fine particles that are 10 microns or less in width.
What is more dangerous PM2.5 or PM10?
PM2.5 is considered more dangerous because since they are smaller they can reach much deeper inside our lungs and cause serious health concerns.
What is Air Quality Index (AQI)
Another very frequently heard term nowadays is AQI, So what is AQI?
AQI is an index to report daily air quality. It mainly tells you how clean or polluted your air is. AQI is calculated on the basis of five major air pollutants – ground level ozone, particulate matter, carbo monoxide, sulfur dixode and nitrogen dixode.
What are safe levels of PM2.5 AQI
In general if PM 2.5 AQI < 100 – air quality is considered safe, If the levels are between 100 and 200, air quality is considered moderate, if the levels are between 200 and 300, air quality is considered Poor, if the levels are between 300 and 400, air quality is considered very poor and if the levels increase beyond 400, air quality is considered Hazardous.
What is AQI in general in Delhi/NCR regions
Air quality Index in Delhi and near by areas in general is above 200 and at times even above 300. Which is definitely a clear signal that the air now has become toxic and its quality is Poor or very poor.
What is Smog
Smog is word combination for ‘fog’ and ‘smoke’. Smog is formed when fog contains soot or smoke in it. It is a combination of air pollutants such as industrial emission, car emissions, waste or forest fire or wood burning that consists of hazardous substances blends with atmosphere.
Health effects of air pollution
Air pollution and specially particulate matters and smog affects our health adversely and specially it affects our kids health. Before we get to tips to protect kids from air pollution lets look at the damage that air pollution can cause to our health:
- Poor quality of air results into respiratory problems and allergies on people of all ages especially children and senior citizens.
- Long term exposure to bad air can cause asthma in kids and affects their lung development.
- It can also result in damage of the nervous system and is linked to development of heart diseases.
- Exposure to air pollution of pregnant ladies may affect brain development of the growing infant.
- Air pollution can also cause reproductive problems, cancer, skin problems and mutations.
- It can result in eye irritation, nose and throat infection, bronchitis, asthma and cough.
We all want the best for our kids. But what kind of Air are we giving to our kids? How will they grow and be strong if basic necessities like air are polluted and are now bad for their health.
Easy Tips to protect kids from air pollution
Above I have covered the basics of what is air pollution and various terms associated with it. This is essential to understand why taking steps to protect our kids from air pollution is essential.
Kids and the elder people with breathing problems are first who are affected due to bad quality of air. So here are some effective tips to protect kids from air pollution.
Few easy steps we can take to protect kids from air pollution are
Stay indoor as much as possible particularly during bad air quality
So this is the first one and the most logical one solution to protect kids from air pollution. When air quality is very poor, stay inside. Go out for essential tasks like going to school or visiting a Doctor. Recently, there have also been times when schools have declared holidays due to air pollution.
You can check AQI index in your area using phone app or sites. The AQI index varies across days and even during different times of the day so if need be you can plan your tasks accordingly.
Use anti-pollution mask when going out
You can use anti pollution masks when going out. They help against pollution as it will prevent you from directly inhaling polluted air. You can use N95/N99 masks when stepping out. You will find these on chemist shop and even on online stores like Amazon.
These masks will work in filtering out pollution particles to an extent. These masks are made of comfortable material and ergonomically designed to fit on the nose. Other features that you need to look when buying them are – are these masks washable and for how long you can use these air masks.
- 98% 3-layer filtration of pollution particles PM2.5
- 99% filtration of bacteria, tested by Nelson Laboratories
- N95 anti-pollution mask with European certification CE0194 EN149 FFP1/FFP2
- Smart valve fitted on the inside of the mask provides seamless outflow of exhaled air providing better comfort
- From the makers of Dettol. Innovated in Singapore. Tested in the US. Designed and Tested to fit Children (7+).
- It is made of ultra-soft fabric that’s gentle on skin and provides comfortable-fit. It has adjustable straps with soft nose pad. Face-fit made basis 3D scanning technique for the Asian face.
Try to minimize the number of times you step out
If you can’t avoid stepping out, try to club the tasks and complete them at once. Also plan your tasks so that you avoid the rush hours and thus avoid timings when air quality is worst during the day.
Keep your home clean and properly ventilated
Keep your home clean and well ventilated. Have an exhaust in bathroom and a chimney in Kitchen. This will help in circulating air inside your home. Also use heavy curtains to avoid dust particles entering. Open the doors and windows for fresh air during the time of the day when outdoor air quality is better – usually it is during the afternoons.
Avoid using paints that release harmful fumes as they lower the quality of air inside your home. Indoor pollution cam be more dangerous than external air pollution.
Drink plenty of water as it helps in cleansing the body out of the toxins
Drinking water is an excellent habit for good health. Even for combating air pollution it is recommended that we drink plenty of water as it keeps us hydrated and cleanses our body of toxins.
Use Air purifiers in your home
Who would have thought that one day we would need something like air purifiers? But sadly that’s what the situation is currently.
So to avoid indoor air pollution we can get Air purifiers for our home. They are specially required for kids room and if you have elderlies at home. As kids and elderly are most prone to air pollution and its harmful effects.
- 12 months manufacturer warranty + Register on the brand website to get extra 2 years warranty
- Presenting Air Touch A5 indoor air purifier by Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company. Visit honeywellsmarthomes.com to know more
- Versatile Coverage Area and efficiency - CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) - 250 m3/h, offers up to 323 sq. ft. coverage area for a room with 9 feet height - suitable for use in living rooms and bedrooms
- Three stage advanced filtration system that removes pollutants with more than 99% efficiency
- Washable pre-filter that removes larger dust particles, pet hair/dander, soil etc
- Combined filter with High-efficiency HEPA and activated carbon filter that removes any microscopic pollutant and allergens above 0.3 microns including PM2.5 and pollens
- It also removes removes formaldehyde, toxic gases, VOCs & odour
- Completely 'Ozone Free' Air Purifier. Does not emit any harmful gases as a byproduct of the filtration technology
- Approximately 3000 hours of filter life, basis the ambient pollution can work for a year if used for 8 hours daily
- Call 1800 103 4761 for a quick advice or service request
Avoid letting kids play outdoor when the air quality is bad
Again something that I am not very happy about. But yes that’s the hard truth. When air quality is bad it is better to avoid letting kids play outdoors.
When kids play and are out of breath, they breath faster and which means an increased rate of entry for the various air pollutants in the air. If you step out (even in your visit to park) you can carry your air masks.
So avoid any strenuous activity outside while the air pollution is on the rise.
Eat the right food.
Eat food that are rich in vitamin C and E as they help in fight against bad effects on the lungs. These food are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. So eat right – eat healthy and nutritious food to help your body by keeping the immune system well nourished.
The food items that are good source of Vitamin C and E are Spinach, Almond, Papaya, Guava, tomato, Broccoli, Orange, Pineapple, Capsicum and Raw seeds of pumpkin and sunflower.
You can eat Jaggery (Gud) and include it in your meals. It is said that Jaggery helps in detoxifying our lungs and flushing out toxins from our body.
Get air purifying plants
Bring in some greens your home as create fresh air and purifier it.
Plants that act as air purifiers are Snake plant, Bamboo Palm, English Ivy, Aloe Vera, Chinese evergreen, Weeping fig, Areca Palm
So here were few steps I could think of how we can protect our kids from air pollution in big cities like Delhi and NCR specially during the time when air pollution is at its peak.
Do let me know if you would like to add anything to this list by using comments below.
But please remember –
Controlling air pollution and maintaining air quality is a continuous task and we all need to make some lifestyle changes to help maintain air quality. We can reuse, reduce and recycle as much as we can. And another easy thing we can do is plant as many trees as we can near our surrounding areas.
Lets start making simple changes today, so we can save our planet that we all share. Let us contribute by making our environment a better place for our children to breathe in.
You may also want read one of our other popular articles on How to encourage healthy eating habits in kids
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Do let me know if there are any tips for protecting kids from air pollution that you know that are not in above list or what you have done to combat indoor pollution, using comment below. Would love to hear from you.